Today, Lenovo announced its 7-inch IdeaPad Tablet A1 at a very attractive price of $199. No one really needs a tablet, but I have to say that everyone in my family enjoys our iPad and the various Android tablets that have come through our home over the last year. We use our tablets to browse the web, check email, watch Netflix movies, play games and video chat with family and friends—all the reasons we bought a netbook for our daughter a couple of years ago. And now, with prices dropping below $200 for capacitive touchscreen tablets, the tablet becomes an interesting alternative to the netbook.
I mention capacitive touchscreens because that’s the speedy, light-touch technology we’ve come to expect from touch devices. Resistive touchscreen tablets have been available for a while, but are more sluggish and require a firm touch.
With this in mind, there are two tablets to consider in the sub-$200 range: the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet A1 ($199) and the Coby Kyros MID7022-4G ($179 on BestBuy.com). Both run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, are about half an inch thick, weigh about 14 ounces, have front-facing 0.3MP cameras for video chat, a microSD slot for expanded storage and run on 1Ghz Cortex A8 single-core processors. The Coby Kyros MID7022-4G comes in black and has 4GB of onboard memory and an 800 x 480 7-inch display. The Lenovo IdeaPad A1 has a 1024 x 600 7-inch display, 2GB of onboard memory and will come in black, white, blue and pink.
For a low-cost option with the latest technology, check out the Acer Iconia Tab A100 ($326 on Amazon.com). It runs the latest Android tablet OS, Android 3.0 Honeycomb and has 8GB of onboard storage, a 1024 x 600 7-inch display, a front-facing 2MP camera, a rear-facing 5MP camera, a 1Ghz Tegra 2 dual-core processor, a microUSB slot and comes in black.